POH: Prioritizing Chaos

Creating Peaceful Organized Homes in 2014

If you are new to this Peaceful Organized Home (POH) series, you can catch up here.

So I was in the shower this morning and got to thinking (doesn’t everyone do their best thinking in the shower?) that the key to a peaceful organized home is controlling the chaos.  Notice that I didn’t say eliminating the chaos.  We don’t live in bubbles so you’ll never get rid of chaos entirely but we can definitely control it.  How do we do that?  By creating helpful and organized solutions!  Whoa, do you see what just happened there?

Control CHAOS by: Creating Helpful And Organized Solutions

What can I say, I love me an acronym :).  Read about my PROCESS steps here.

What I particularly love about this acronym is the helpful part.  We all know that our lives would be a lot easier if we were organized, right?  But then why isn’t everyone out there organized?  Probably for the same reason not everyone out there is healthy and fit.  It is hard and it requires work.  Yep I totally get that.

But what if we looked at it a different way and thought about various organizing  tasks as a way to provide a helpful solution to reigning in chaos.  So many of us get caught up in the “it has to be perfect and pretty” for it to be organized.  Nope stop right there and let’s back this truck up.  Organization doesn’t require either of those words to be effective.  What is does need is to be helpful.  You can have the most awesome beautiful organized pantry in the world, complete with lovely baskets and labels, but it does no one any good at all if it is not helpful to you.

Unfortunately our culture seems to want to tell us otherwise.  All it takes is a look at Pinterest, or any home magazine or well frankly the majority of the organizing blogs out there to tell you that if your organizing project doesn’t involve some kind of spectacular DIY endeavor than it’s a task not really completed.

I’m here to tell you that any organizing solution you put into place must first and foremost be helpful.  It must solve a problem.  After that if you want to make it beautiful well by all means knock yourself out. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to create beautifully organized rooms and closets and cupboards in your home.  But don’t let that sideline you into putting off creating helpful and simple organized solutions for the chaos around you.

Prioritizing the Chaos ~ Creating Peaceful Organized Homes in 2014

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time to decide how we’ll figure out where to start with the solutions and the controlling of the chaos.

First we need to start by prioritizing the chaos.  Let’s face it, chaos and clutter are overwhelming and exhausting especially if we think about it all at once.  It can be immobilizing and defeating.  Let’s avoid that by breaking down the helpful solutions we want to create.

Ask yourself, what one solution if I implemented TODAY would provide me the most peace of mind and be the most helpful?

As you go about your day, really pay attention to where you find your shoulders tensing the most.  Yes many things may irritate you but there is always something that really gets you going.  And the reason I say pay attention is because if you’ve lived with the situation for awhile you may be subconsciously avoiding even thinking about it.  It’s a coping mechanism we use.

The top thing that causes me the most chaos and frustration in my home, more than anything else, is paper.  Specifically piles of the stuff.  There is so much of it and it just keeps coming.  Problem is I also hate filing.  So you see I had to come up with a helpful solution for my paper that didn’t involve the obviously choice of just filing it every day or every week.  I know myself well enough to know that that would never happen.  So my solution involves filing once a year.  Oh yes it does (more about that here) but it totally works for me.   Society tells me this is not okay, that this is not an acceptable solution (trust me I get a lot of grief about it).  I don’t care and you know why?  Because it is what is most helpful to me and that is what is most important.

So the point of today’s post is to create helpful and organized solutions to our chaos one frustrating problem at a time.

Solutions needs to be helpful by solving a problem with a system that works for YOU.  That’s what it means to be organized.  By prioritizing chaos we can start finding solutions to what causes us the most tension and work our way down.

Make a list of areas that need solutions.  Write them down, don’t just do this step in your head or you won’t be able to sleep tonight :)

Prioritize that chaos list.

Then take each task and break it up into easily managed tasks depending on how much time you have available.  Can you eliminate the chaos all together or is a helpful solution required?

As we start to control (or eliminate where possible) the chaos in our homes we’ll be well on our way to enjoying the result.  A wonderfully peaceful organized home that we love and are content to be in.

Amen to that!

So tell me, what’s at the top of your helpful solution needed list?


Linking up: House of RoseDesign Dining and DiapersThirty Handmade Days

Filed under: Organizing Basics, Simplicity


12 Responses to POH: Prioritizing Chaos

  1. 1
    holly says

    i would love to see your thoughts on kids room organization.. specifically a shared limited space.

    • 1.1
      Laura says

      Yes I will try to do more posts about this holly :)

  2. 2
    Robyn @ Living the Simple Life Now says

    I agree with Holly’s comment. If it weren’t for kids, organization would be so much easier! But I don’t want to wish these years away either or take away some of the fun of their childhood (which for boys seems to be making messes!!) :)

    I am working on a series on this right now and going to vlog through it. So, so many people have this problem. I’m not sure there is an easy fix, at least not in my house!

    • 2.1
      Laura says

      Hi Robyn, as a mom with two teens (one in grade 11!) I definitely agree with you. Don’t wish the time away as it definitely goes so fast. I’m so sad thinking about my daughter leaving home. That’s why it does kind of frustrate me whenever I read about eliminating chaos all together. There really is no such thing when we have kids around and that’s okay. We can manage it though which does give us more quality time with our loved ones which is what I love. For instance we all do chores in this house and housework gets done so much quicker that way. We usually do it Friday after school and then have all weekend to play. Love that!

  3. 3
    Mridu Parikh says

    Love today’s post Laura. I couldn’t agree more. You can’t get rid of chaos…that would be “not living.” But we all have choices about how we react to it and also how we set up processes to deal with it in the first place.

    I also love how you talked about what “society tells us to do” vs. what works best for you. I strongly encourage women to have confidence in their choices if it’s aligned with what makes them happy. There are too many “black and white” rules about organization out there. People should do what works best for themselves, their families and their situations. :)) xo mridu

    • 3.1
      Laura says

      It’s very intimidating though when you first get started but you are right once they gain the confidence there will be no stopping them :)

  4. 4
    Tyna says

    I agree with Holly! More about org’ing with multiple children in a room. also, I can org to my heart’s content, but I can’t seem to get the children to put stuff in the spaces alloted for various items. All the cute baskets in the world won’t help if the girls won’t put stuff in them…

  5. 5
    Carol says

    So glad your back, I like the guest posts but you make “stuff” so real life, and I have a lot of stuff. Thanks for telling me, giving me permission, for my house not to look like Pinterest . Who knows how many of those decorative boxes to buy anyway and what happens when In 6 months you need another one only to go to the store and find them discontinued for a new version…that won’t match anything!

  6. 6
    Leigh says

    I’d have to say that paper is also probably my biggest grief! especially with 3 kids in school, a hubby that likes to keep all paper & myself being very sentimental about it! oi yev! right after i write this, I’ll be reading about your “once a year filing”!

  7. 7
    Anna says

    For me, it’s clothes. Paper is a bugger as well, but I don’t mind filing at all – just have to make myself sit down and do it. But I can NEVER seem to keep a clothes-free floor, and the moment you have just three pieces of clothing thrown about somewhere, the whole room looks cluttered no matter how nice the rest of it. Plus, they pile up SO fast.

    I’m working on clearing out all the ones we don’t need, but there’s three children involved here, and a couple of well-meaning grannies bringing in new stuff, and I just haven’t found a real solution that works for me. Let alone all of us. Will check out the rest of your site though, who knows what I might find :-)

  8. 8
    Jacqueline says

    This really put things in a different light for me. Things don’t have to be absolutely beautiful to be helpful. I definitely need some helpful things to take care of the chaos in my home.

  9. 9
    Chris Glasoe says

    I just read your words about organizing for the first time, and when I got to the place where you talk about paper being the thing that frustrates you most. I’m sitting alone in my living room (alone as in I live alone) with my dog lying next to me on the sofa, and when I got to that nasty word PAPER, I said “YES!” out loud which made the dog jump and look at me like, “who the heck are you talking to?”
    ANYWAY, I have found one thing that has worked for me the most that I just started doing last year. When I get the mail, before I even go back into the house, I pass by the recycling bin and toss whatever can go into there, and I also keep a paper shredder right there, also, so I shred anything that looks shreddable. If there is even a slight doubt if something goes thru the shredder or not, I bring it into the house just to make sure it isn’t something important. I learned that lesson the hard way by thinking a piece of mail was junk, when in fact, it was a pretty sizable refund check – oops!
    At any rate, that helps me a lot to reduce the amount of paper I have to take the time to deal with. If I have a few minutes, which is all it takes if done daily, I open the mail when I am sitting next to the file cabinet, toss if needed and file whatever is left (usually only a couple of things.) If something is REALLY important that I have to deal with in a timely manner, I have a clipboard on the side of my refrigerator where I see it whenever I walk into the kitchen to keep reminding me something I shouldn’t forget about needs doing. I think that I would probably be able to buy a yacht with all the late charges I have paid all these years, well, maybe not a YACHT, but you get my drift :)
    Keeping the paper monster in check is very high on my list, too as a pile of untended papers sends me into a very dark place (well, I exaggerate…) and I simply MUST go take a nap because…yawn…I am suddenly SO tired…or, is that headache coming on, hmmmmmmmmmmm…


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